Making Sense of MS Research

Summaries of independent,
high-quality research about multiple sclerosis treatments

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for MS

Detailed answer

For people with multiple sclerosis (MS), there is consistent evidence to show that a course of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has little to no effect on:

Side effects

HBOT is considered to be a relatively safe therapy.

Occasional serious side-effects can include lung injuries, drug reactions and injury or death due to a fire in the pressurised chamber. None of the people in the studies experienced any of these side-effects.

More minor side-effects experienced by people in the studies include

  • visual disturbances
  • middle ear injury

What we don’t know from the results of this review

The authors stated that no further studies of HBOT are needed as the answer is clear that it is not effective for people with MS.

What about the quality of the these results?

The nine studies included in this review were all randomised controlled trials, which are considered the most rigorous study design. The authors suggested that the quality of these trials was strong, meaning we can have reasonable confidence in their results.

The really detailed answer

For more information, or to read about the individual studies included in this review, you can access the Cochrane review on which this treatment summary is based: